Sophie was my best friend

To the Editor:

Altamont lost a kind and gentle soul just before New Year’s Eve. This girl made people smile wherever she went. She loved to make her rounds to visit her favorite friends.

And she always had time for anyone who needed some extra comfort. She was a beautiful girl with long silky smooth blond hair. And tail.

She was my beautiful 12-year-old purebred collie named Sophie.

Sophie was gunned down Sunday afternoon by people in a nearby house. I can’t use the word neighbor to describe them because it wouldn’t be fitting.

A neighbor makes you think of someone you can turn to in times of need. A neighbor is someone you can count on to be there even if you don’t see them all the time. Neighbors take care of each other.

Here in Altamont, I have good neighbors. We have been there for each other through work crises; divorces; deaths; and, of course, power outages. We know when the chips are down we can depend on one another.

Sophie’s killer isn’t a neighbor, just someone who occupies a nearby house.

He is a mere transplant who doesn’t truly understand life in the country. Gun ownership is a privilege that many of us enjoy but most know the responsibility that comes with it.

Random killing isn’t what life in the country is about. Many of us live in the country to get away from exactly that type of person. Shooting an aged pet that has never trespassed before certainly does not constitute appropriate use of a gun.

How does one rationalize shooting a dog that has raised little girls into young women? Or a dog who has helped a single mother laugh through the lonely times? Or a dog that has been a guardian of the household by barking whenever something was amiss outside?

Sophie looked just like Lassie and was Lassie.

Our family cannot understand this tragedy. My neighbors cannot understand this tragedy. You see, Sophie belonged to many of us, not just me and my family.

My next-door neighbor joked that he didn’t need to get a dog because he already has his friend Sophie, whose act would be too hard to beat. My neighbors with dogs walked theirs over to my house just so they could play and visit with Sophie who was quite the hostess.

Did I mention that she was a rescue? When her original owners neglected and ignored her, I asked if I could have her. They gladly handed her over.

That was eight years ago. Since then, she has never left my side.

Dogs may be man’s best friend but Sophie was my best friend.

Barbara Huba

Editor’s note: See related story.

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